Are you frustrated?
Do you wake up some mornings wanting to be on a new food program and by 3 p.m. you have your face halfway into a bag of Oreos? Do you go to bed after that, frustrated? Do you think you’re going to start again tomorrow? or Monday? or the next day? Does this cycle keep repeating over and over again? You go to bed at night hating yourself, thinking if you only had enough willpower things would be different. You will start again the next morning. If you only had more willpower this would be different.
I was on this cycle too, for years. I would wake up and think, today I'm going to do it! I would get so down on myself and so upset. I would work really hard and every day I would just try and be good over and over.
I was told I just needed to summon up enough willpower. This was about self-discipline and self-love. If I loved myself enough… I am worth it…. Or, I am just not motivated, I don't care enough. When I am sick and tired of being sick and tired, I will change.
For years I worked on staying on a healthy food plan. I would be okay for a few days or even a couple of weeks and then I would get derailed. Inevitably I would get off track. Does this sound familiar?
While I wanted to lose weight, this was more about feeling better. I didn't want to be bloated. I had super low energy, my skin didn't look amazing and I struggled with adult acne.
A few years ago I decided to dig into this. Why couldn't I stay on my plan? What was wrong with me? Was I crazy? Why can't I stay motivated?
In the long run, what I learned that no matter what was going on with me, I needed to have some sure-fire way to stay consistent and finally get some results.
Nuts and Bolts Tools
I did a ton of experimenting on this. I wanted to be consistent no matter what was happening and where I was. I tried and failed a million times. After a while though, I came up with some tricks that really helped me. I want to share these with you in the hopes that you can either use them or, tweak them a bit to suit your lifestyle.
This is a bit of an odd thing, but bear with me here, and hear me out. What this trick meant for me was that if I was going out to a restaurant or to a social gathering, I would make sure that I ate before I left the house.
This may sound crazy I know. It may sound counterintuitive even, but this is one of the best ways to help me stay on track. And, while you might think you are going to eat TOO much, believe me, this trick has always worked.
You might think that eating twice would give you twice as many calories, but that isn't necessarily true and the satiety your "at home" meal gives you will be the most amazing "net" you ever had. It actually creates a base and takes away my hunger so much so that when I arrive at the social event I'm not famished.
I make different choices when I'm not hungry, do you notice the same?
I feel odd at times just sitting there while everyone else is eating. I notice others are uncomfortable too for some reason. So, to not make myself stand out, or feel out of place, I'll either eat something light or have a healthy meal.
TAKE FOOD WITH ME
I always, always, always have snacks! Like a new mother does with a diaper bag, I never leave the food without my lunch bag. I mean NEVER! You see, like most working moms, sometimes my days change by the minute. In other words, I could leave the house thinking I am going to do A,B and C, but I actually only end up doing B and then having to address emergency D, E, F, G and H! And, while I can get all those things done, I do NOT want that to be the reason I need to pull into a drive through and pick up a meal. I learned quite early on, that there is absolutely nothing that I can pick up "quick" that will serve me or my healing.
I have a couple different sized lunch bags depending on the day. I also always have a little snack or a treat tucked away in my pocket book. It's no fun being hungry and it is no fun being hungry and being in the car driving on an errand wondering what you're going to pick up. Talk about driving around looking for trouble!
Have you ever been out a mall or store, thinking you were there to pick up only one thing. Then, while there, you realize you might have a return, or there is a birthday coming up, or something broke yesterday that you can replace..... anything that stretches your 15 minute errand into a two hour process? This has happened to me too many times to count.
I used to end up at the food court in the beginning, and then kicking myself as the "healthy" Chinese meal I just quickly ate is incrementally bloating my belly. After a couple of years of realizing what Fast Food Chinese did to my body, I would get popcorn or chips thinking that was better, only to catch a glimpse of my myself in the rearview window when I got into the car and not recognize myself. The bloating was so altering!!
So, two fold protection was a must. Something in the car and then something on my body or bag!
Schedule Around my Self Care
Like most of you I'm super busy! I'm a mom, I have a career and I have a really large family. If I don't schedule around my self-care, put myself and my care first, it's really super easy for all of my care to go out the window because of someone else's needs.
I know sometimes that's necessary and it's going to happen, but what was going on for me was that interruptions were a constant and I never got to the gym, or the market.
What I had to realize that my food and my workout comes first. I know how that sounds, but actually if I protected myself around my meals and workouts, not only did they get done, but I did way better throughout the day. I was more efficient and effective. And yes, I could care for others from a place of being "filled up" rather then depleted.
Now, this is an important step... I didn't just "think" of when I would workout, I literally needed to put working out in my calendar. i really have to literally "block out" that time and do it weeks ahead of time. So, if I need to schedule somebody's doctor's appointment or I have an errand to run, I know that I need to do it AROUND my schedule, not the other way around. This ensures that I get at least 5 6 times during the week to workout.
I learned I needed to stop my work earlier to make sure I had time to prep a meal. I never could just "skid" into a meal and have everything turn out ok. I actually need to realize I had to be home, or stop work with enough time to make sure I could have a meal ready when it was time for me to eat.
This may sound silly, but before what was happening was that my hunger "triggered" meal prep. By the time my meal was ready, I had had half a box of crackers and a cookie or two. I didn't want to do that. So, I I had all things come to a halt and had food on the table when I was ready to eat.
Again, I have to say again that I am as busy as all of you. So, sometimes a meal means reheating a meal. I also make soups and chilis in huge soup pots so that enough is made to freeze for another day. This makes a meal happen super quick when I don't have time.
I learned I needed to schedule runs to the market. Sometimes I need to go to two markets! (I know I'm not alone here!) So it is kind of helpful to schedule those times I need to go and plan around that.
It's not always possible, but sometimes if I plan for food a few days in advance, that is particularly great for me. I mostly do this over the weekend so I'm not thinking on days off what I need to make.
FIND A GREAT WORKOUT
Years ago I was living in Los Angeles. It was at the beginning of the "spinning" craze. I resisted it for a while because I hated to be trendy, but once I took a class, holy cow it was like I found Nirvana!!
You mean I didn't have to be outside in the heat or cold, I didn't have to bounce and hurt my knees (or boobs!) and I could still sweat my butt off!?? Sign me up! This was the first time in my life that I felt like I was an athlete. I found that hot yoga worked for me also. Not for everybody I know, but it checked all the boxes for me!
As a nutrition counselor, I had clients over the years ask me repeatedly what's the best workout was. They expected me to say spinning. But actually the real answer was... The exercise that you're going to love whether it's spinning, whether it's yoga, CrossFit, rock climbing....whatever it is, it should be something that you're going to want to do 5 to 6 days a week.
Sometimes you're not going to want to do it. When you're just a beginner at that workout, that happens more, but give it a couple of weeks. If there is a community like a yoga studio or gym, you might just show up for the social aspect and that is great too! Whatever gets you there!
Try to find a workout that actually makes your body sweat, but not for the weight loss. Don't ever consider that working out is for weightloss. That is a trap. It makes you do really extreme things. Working out this isn't actually about weight loss, it's for the detox. It's to keep your body limber, and your bones and muscles strong.
I love working out in the morning because it actually sets my day up really differently. I feel great when I get a good sweat in, can take a shower and get dressed. I feel so ready for my day. I can't wait until the end of the day, and then rev myself back up. All this being said, I know for a lot of people, end of the day workouts work best. So just do what works for you. Do it 5 to 6 times a week.
Finding a workout I loved gave me a purpose. Having to get into my gym clothes, looking into a mirror with compassion at myself and others, showing up and having a teacher smile at me, having others around me to urge me on.... these things helped me stay on track. It gave me a purpose and it also reminded me what I wanted to do.
I want to support my body. I want to feel great.
I am hoping some of these tips and tricks will help you get more consistent and find freedom. Please leave a comment below and let me know how it is all going!